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CDOT Launches Eye-Contact Pedestrian Safety Campaign

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  CDOT pedestrian signal

CDOT pedestrian signal

In Colorado last year, drivers were at fault about 60% of the time in accidents in which pedestrians were injured or killed, according to the state’s Department of Transportation (CDOT). And because that means that pedestrians were to blame about 40% of the time, the Department has launched a pedestrian safety campaign directed at both walkers and drivers, as the department has announced in a press release.

Called “Awkward Eye Contact Saves Lives — Heads Up at Crosswalks,” the campaign urges the two groups, drivers and pedestrians, to make sure they are looking at each other’s eyes in order to prevent accidents. The campaign name uses the word “awkward” because it is incorporating media placements across the state especially in places where “awkward eye contact” occurs, such as bathroom stalls, the press release says.

As a brochure from the University of Colorado Police Department reports, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic collision about every eight minutes, on average. Most such accidents happen because of a combination of two factors: the failure of pedestrians to use crosswalks, and the inattentiveness of drivers, the brochure says.

The brochure advises pedestrians to be aware at all times, to use the sidewalk whenever possible, and to walk against the flow of traffic when there is no sidewalk. Those on foot should obey traffic signals and look both ways before crossing. It goes without saying that pedestrians (as well as drivers) should not be texting or otherwise looking at their phones. In addition:

Even if you have the right-of-way, it is important to realize that vehicles may not always stop. Make eye contact with drivers and pay attention to the environment around you. If you are wearing headphones or talking on your cell phone while crossing the street it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and take extra care to avoid dangerous situations.

Amy Ford, CDOT Communications Director, said an analysis of 2013 data on pedestrian crashes and fatalities shows that about 20% of the accidents were caused by pedestrians entering the road where there was no crosswalk. She added that almost 38% of such accidents happened at the site of a crosswalk.

CDOT writes that because most crashes involving pedestrians take place between October and March, and spike in October and January, it has timed the campaign to start “just before daylight savings blankets the streets during the fall and winter seasons.” These types of accidents tend to coincide with the work and school week, with most of them occurring between Monday and Friday, “in line with the recent back to school crunch.”

The campaign, which launched this week, runs through September in Denver and Colorado Springs, CDOT says. In the 2013 findings, Denver had 30% of all incidents that occurred within city limits, the largest percentage in the state, CDOT writes. In addition to “ironic bathroom posters,” the campaign will feature notices on “bus tails” and bus shelters, along with digital banners and also radio spots, CDOT writes.

The Department quotes Ford:

‘We’re seeing far too many preventable pedestrian-related crashes and even fatalities on the road,’ said Amy Ford, CDOT Communications Director. ‘The simple act of making eye contact at intersections and crosswalks could reverse this growing problem, in turn saving lives.’

CDOT offers more pedestrian safety tips here.

 

One Response to “CDOT Launches Eye-Contact Pedestrian Safety Campaign”

  • Karel Bammews says:

    April 25, 2015 8761 W. Cornell Ave. #8
    Lakewood, CO 80227-4819
    303-763-7687
    pedalkatt@hotmail.com

    Dear Sirs;

    I have been an employee at REI Denver Store since it opened, and am VERY concerned about the danger to pedestrians who cross from our West Parking Lot to the store, in the designated and signed crosswalk. There is a large yellow diagonal ‘pedestrian crossing’ sign with a yellow arrow pointing to the crosswalk, and it is visible on both sides of the sign.

    Today, as with many other days, I attempted to cross there at 5:25 PM, and was 4 feet into the street, headed to REI, a when a woman in a large red SUV driving very fast, just drove around me, making no attempt whatsoever to stop. Other drivers, both directions had stopped. I yelled at her, “This is a pedestrian crosswalk, you need to stop’. After she was 50 feet south of the crosswalk, she screams out her window, “I f____ing don’t have to stop, there is no stop sign.

    I am asking what can be done about this dangerous crosswalk. It is especially bad at evening rush hour, with many cars failing to stop, cars going through much faster than posted 30 MPH.
    It is my understanding that in Colorado, pedestrians have the right of way and at crosswalks.

    Here are several suggestions that I hope the city can implement before a pedestrian is killed at that intersection:

    1. Put a bright blinking sign, perhaps pedestrian activated, as has been placed on Estes near the Brown Stone House Park on Bear Creek in Lakewood. I live right there in Silver Valley and it seems to have helped.

    2. Put an additional sign on the current “pedestrian crossing” and “arrow” signs that says “COLORADO LAW: PEDESTRIANS HAVE RIGHT OF WAY”.

    3. Have a police presence there during rush hour and hand out tickets to drivers who roar through there without regard for pedestrians.

    4. Put a short message on 9News, News 4, Channel 7 News: In “COLORADO LAW:
    PEDESTRIANS HAVE RIGHT OF WAY”& perhaps do a little educational TV bit about this.

    I am be willing to spend some time there with a camera, taking photos of those drivers during the 5 PM rush hour if that would be of help to you, or perhaps you might have an intern to do this.
    It would be interesting to see the frequency of pedestrians that use that crosswalk, days, time, days when REI is having a sale, days when the Broncos play, etc.

    Thank you. Karel Bammes

    Please do respond to my inquiry. I am seriously concerned, not only for my own health and safety as well as my co-workers, but also for other people, their families and their children and hope something can be done soon to alleviate this problem, BEFORE a pedestrian is killed.

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